Judith van de Griendt's Image
Judith van de Griendt (the Netherlands) experiences a heartbreaking scene caused by human carelessness.
Judith was with a team of freedivers in the Azores when they spotted the Bryde's whale moving unusually slowly. It was dragging at least 12 metres of discarded fishing net behind it. The team tried to cut it loose but were unsuccessful. Unless the net is removed, eventually it could cause the whale to die a painful death.
Most of the abandoned nets found in the Azores are believed to come from boats operating elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. An estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million tonnes of ghost fishing gear ends up in our oceans each year, killing millions of marine animals. Wildlife charities are raising awareness and appealing to government agencies and commercial fishers to change these practices.
How you can help
See all the images in focus
- Ghost nets - fishing nets that have been discarded in the ocean - pose a significant threat to ocean life. If you see an animal in distress, do not approach it. Instead contact a local marine life rescue organisation or aquarium, who will be able to help.
- Reduce your plastic use. Try conducting a plastic audit to see how much plastic you use in a week, this can help identify things that can be reduced, reused or recycled.
- Participate in a clean-up to remove plastic from the rivers or coastal areas close to you. If there isn't one in your area, you can organise one with your family and friends.